Zima’s Maltdown

Westword: I figured I was up for some experimentation.
I’m secure in my own identity and all, but I’m also a young guy in his prime. So why not try something a little risque? Truth be told, I was malt-curious. And the Nob Hill Inn on East Colfax Avenue seemed like the perfect place to conduct my own alcohol study: Is it possible for a man to order a Zima in a tough-guy bar and not get his ass kicked? That’s a question that has existed, at least subliminally, within the deeply insecure psyche of the fizzy, mildly-citrusy-alcoholic-beverage industry ever since Coors developed the world’s first “Clearmalt,” back in 1992.
Don’t be misled by its regal title: The Nob Hill Inn is a woefully classic Colfax dive bar that even the hipsters avoid. I’ve grown out my beard, buzzed my head and done push-ups in anticipation. With a beautiful Latina hootchie mama in tow and a short but well-built strong-arm man as backup, I sidle up to the bar.
“I’ll take a Zima,” I say loudly.
“Don’t got it,” answers the bartender, who sports a tattered Bubba Gump Shrimp hat. Two older women at the bar, who look like they spend their nights making out with steel manhole covers on Colfax, start laughing. At me — or at least, at my expense.
So much for experimentation.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.